Notre Dame hopes luck is on its side
No. 3 Washington starts Pac-12 play with Stanford, No. 1 Cal
A successful August and September has second-ranked Notre Dame heading into early October undefeated with a 5-0-3 record.
This is the fifth time in 37 seasons as a varsity program that the Fighting Irish will go into October without a loss. The feat also occurred in 1978 (7-0-2), 1981 (7-0-2), 1987 (10-0-1) and 1988 (10-0-1).
Notre Dame improved upon last season's start winning its first eight matches. The Irish started 7-0 last year.
The eighth win of the season came on Wednesday as Notre Dame initiated a new member to its goal-scoring fraternity. Junior forward Vince Cicciarelli put the second-ranked Fighting Irish on the board in the 21st minute en route to a 2-0 victory against Indiana at Alumni Stadium. The victory improved Notre Dame to 3-8 all-time when facing the defending national champion. In fact, the Irish have won their last three encounters with the reigning NCAA champion (Indiana in 2005 & 2013, Maryland in 2006).
To follow-up on the battle with the defending champs, the road doesn't get any easier for the Fighting Irish which will now face No. 13 Clemson on Saturday and No. 8 Maryland on Tuesday.
No. 3 Washington (6-0-2) begins conference play this weekend with a difficult trip to the Bay Area to face Stanford (5-1-1) and No. 1 California (6-0-1). The Dawgs look to remain unbeaten against a pair of tough opponents, while also earning points on the road for what is surely going to be a highly competitive race for the Pac-12 title.
Washington is coming off a sensational run through non-conference play and enters the Pac-12 season as one of nine remaining unbeatens in DI. Of those, the Dawgs are one of five ranked in the top 25.
For the season, Washington has scored 18 goals, while allowing just four. The Dawgs 2.25 goals per game ranks ninth in the nation, while their 0.47 goals allowed average ranks fifth.
Despite the top-10 offense, Washington’s leading goal scorer is center back Taylor Peay with four. The Huskies have made their mark with an incredibly balanced attack with 10 different goal scorers and six with at least two. Peay shares the team lead in points with fellow defenders Michael Harris and Justin Schmidt, who each have two goals and four assists. One notable player that has yet to score is James Moberg, but he has made his mark with a team-leading five assists.
Stanford is also off to a strong start and will present a difficult challenge for UW in the conference opener. The Cardinal is coming off a road win at UC Santa Barbara where freshman Jordan Morris scored twice and was named Pac-12 Player of the Week. Overall, Stanford has won five in a row, four of which have come by a single goal. Last year, Washington swept the Cardinal in a pair of tightly contested, physically played games.
Sunday’s matchup with the Golden Bears will be a national showcase game with the two teams’ lofty rankings. The Golden Bears shot up the rankings early on with wins against then-No. 2 Maryland and No. 3 Georgetown in the opening weekend. Cal has scored 14 goals, while allowing just four for the season and is led by Steve Birnbaum who is tied for the conference lead with five goals. A year ago, the Dawgs played a pair of double-overtime games against Cal, winning on a Patrick Pacheco golden goal in Seattle and earning 1-1 draw in Berkeley.
|Thursday, Oct. 3|
|7 p.m.||No. 1 California vs. Oregon State|
|10 p.m.||No. 3 Washington vs. Stanford|
|Friday, Oct. 4|
|7 p.m.||No. 6 Cal State Northridge vs. Sacramento State|
|7:30 p.m.||No. 8 Maryland vs. Boston College|
|Saturday, Oct. 5|
|3 p.m.||No. 10 UCLA vs. San Diego State|
|7 p.m.||No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 13 Clemson|
|7 p.m.||No. 7 UMBC vs. Hartford|
|8 p.m.||No. 4 Creighton vs. Xavier|
|8 p.m.||No. 9 Akron vs. Hartwick|
|Sunday, Oct. 6|
|2 p.m.||No. 1 California vs. No. 3 Washington|
|2 p.m.||No. 5 Northwestern vs. Michigan State|
|6 p.m.||No. 6 Cal State Northridge vs. UC Davis|
|Tuesday, Oct. 8|
|7 p.m.||No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 8 Maryland|
|10 p.m.||No. 3 Washington vs. Seattle|
|Wednesday, Oct. 9|
|7 p.m.||No. 5 Northwestern vs. Northern Illinois|
|7 p.m.||No. 7 UMBC vs. William & Mary|
|8:30 p.m.||No. 9 Akron vs. Cleveland State|